Yann M’Vila has told Sunderland they have to win their “cup final” at Norwich if they are to stand any chance of avoiding relegation from the Premier League.
The Black Cats head for Carrow Road in next Saturday’s early kick-off knowing the game is if not a winner-takes-all showdown, then not far short of one with the Canaries four points better off than Sam Allardyce’s men having played a game more.
M’Vila said: “We have to win against Norwich, there’s no question of a draw. We have to take the points and absolutely have to win at any cost.
“It’s like a derby, a cup final and we have to approach it like that. There will be pressure on both teams, but more on us because there’s four points between us.
“We absolutely need to win because if we draw, Norwich will still have that four-point gap.”
Sunderland had hoped to have reduced that gap to just a single point when they welcomed leaders Leicester to the Stadium of Light on Sunday, a day after Alex Neil’s men had gone down 1-0 at Crystal Palace.
However, their hopes were dashed by a second-half double from Jamie Vardy, which secured a 2-0 win for the visitors and left their hosts, who have now won just once in 11 attempts, still deep in trouble with six games remaining.
There was little in it until Vardy struck with 66 minutes gone, and the Black Cats’ disappointment at a glaring 82nd-minute miss from substitute Jack Rodwell was compounded when the England international helped himself to a second deep into stoppage time.
M’Vila on Leicester defeat
Once again, it was a case of what might have been after a run of four successive draws, all of of which could realistically have been wins.
M’Vila, 25, said: “It’s difficult mentally because every week is the same thing. We could have had so many more points when you look at the games against Newcastle, Crystal Palace, West Brom.
“We’ve lost a lot of points. That makes me sad and I hope we can do something better next week.
“We’ve asked all the questions among ourselves, but I don’t know why we haven’t won more games – the West Brom game for example.
“Yesterday, there wasn’t anything significant between the two teams. At half-time, we were good, but there are these key moments in games where we manage to lose. We lose our concentration and the opposition score a goal.
“Before the first goal, we were doing well and we were thinking we could get a clean sheet, either a draw or a win.
“But we lost a poor goal. It was a typical Leicester goal and we’d spoken about it at half-time, about them playing long balls over the top.
“We knew we had to pay attention to the pace of Vardy. If you give him chances like that, then you know what will happen.”